CAAT speech slams UK arms sales to repressive regimes

6 December 2012

Tomorrow, on 7 December, UK campaigning organisation Campaign against Arms Trade (CAAT) will be presented with a 2012 Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish Parliament. CAAT's acceptance speech will highlight the hypocrisy of a UK government which claims to support human rights, while promoting weapons sales to repressive regimes.

Today, CAAT joined with other award recipients to speak at a press conference in Stockholm.

CAAT is one of the four recipients of the Award, known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize", together with Hayrettin Karaca, veteran environmentalist from Turkey, Sima Samar, women's rights campaigner from Afghanistan, and Gene Sharp, scholar and teacher of non-violent action.

The Right Livelihood Awards will be presented just a few days before the Nobel Peace Prize Award, this year controversially awarded to the European Union (EU). A statement signed by Nobel laureates Mairead Maguire, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Adolfo Perez Esquivel, and other peace campaigners, contends that the EU is not a "champion of peace", as specified in the will of Alfred Nobel, and the award to the EU is therefore unlawful.

CAAT's speech, given by Anne-Marie O'Reilly, before the Swedish parliament on 7 December, will criticise the UK government's courting of authoritarian regimes to sell arms. It will highlight the devastating impact of arms sales and expose the justifications for arms exports put forward by the government and the arms industry. It will share the ways that a small campaigning organisation has had an impact on the arms trade.

Speaking on behalf of CAAT, Anne-Marie O'Reilly, said:

Arms control will never work when governments also promote arms sales. David Cameron talks about democracy and human rights in the Middle East but continues to push arms to Saudi Arabia, a regime with a terrible human rights record.

This award is a testament to the work of thousands of people around the UK whose collective action has managed to expose, challenge and impede the arms trade since we began our work nearly 40 years ago.


For further information please contact:

  • Right Livelihood Award Foundation, Birgit Jaeckel, Communications Consultant, or Steffi Geilhof, Executive Assistant, +46 8 70 20 340 or mobile +49 170 24 49 348 or email info(at)rightlivelihood·org
  • Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Kaye Stearman, 020 7281 0297 or mobile 07990 673 232 or email media(at)caat·org·uk.


  1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in the UK works to end the international arms trade. The arms business has a devastating impact on human rights and society and damages economic development. Large-scale military procurement and arms exports only reinforce a militaristic approach to international problems. Around 75% of CAAT's income is raised from individual supporters. In 2012, CAAT was awarded a Right Livelihood Award, the "alternative Nobel Prize" for its "innovative and effective campaigning against the arms trade".
  2. The award acceptance speeches will be made available tomorrow, 4pm (Central European Time), 7 December, at Right Livelihood website's Press Room. There will be a live web-stream from the ceremony accessible via their website.
Page updated 6 December 2012
  submit to reddit